Skip to main content
  • Daily Deals
  • Sell
  • Customer Support

Green Driving

  • Electric


    Avoid gas stations altogether. Electricity is cheap and ubiquitous. EVs are the greenest vehicles you can buy. But limited range means mostly local driving.

  • Hybrid


    Gas-electric hybrids are the most efficient cars that don’t have a plug. There are nearly 40 available models—ranging from compact to full-size SUV.

  • Diesel


    Diesel vehicles have exceptional fuel efficiency and are fun to drive. Today's diesels are much cleaner and quieter than those from previous generations.

  • High MPG Gas

    High MPG Gas

    Great fuel efficiency is possible with conventional gas engines. There's a growing list of reasonably priced models getting 35 mpg or higher.

  • CNG

    Natural Gas

    Research is required to find a local station that pumps CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), and choice of models is limited. But the payoff is low-cost fuel that burns clean.

  • Ethanol


    If you live near an E85 pump, a flex-fuel car utilizes a domestic source of farm-grown fuel.

Green Driving news & articles

Find green cars

Browse by category

Find Parts

Diesel Vehicle Buying Guide

By Brad Berman
Posted on Dec 13, 2012
Diesel Vehicle Buying Guide

Is a Diesel Vehicle Right for You?

Hybrid gas-electric cars are well known as the most fuel-efficient cars on the road.  But there’s a another compelling option that offers nearly as the same fuel economy, with a lot more fun from behind the wheel: diesel.

Diesel vehicles provide greater torque (the force that twists the axle) than conventional cars.  Torque is important for drivers who carry heavy loads or tow trailers—but it’s also the reason that diesel-powered cars are a hoot to drive.  This desire for more pep, along with high fuel economy, is one of the main reasons why some shoppers put diesels above hybrids on their wish list.

Diesel engines tend to last longer than gasoline engines, leading to higher resale values for many diesel-equipped models.

Are There Drawbacks To Consider?

Diesel vehicles carry a stigma—from a bygone era—for belching dirty black plumes of exhaust. Diesels are also known for creating racket, the so-called diesel engine “clatter” or “rattle” that allows you to hear older diesel vehicles coming from a block away.  While diesel engines have become a lot quieter, they are still not nearly as hushed at many luxury cars—and certainly not as quiet as hybrids or electric cars.

Limited choice is also a consideration.  Diesel is the long favored fuel-efficiency strategy for European carmakers, so you’ll only see German brands—Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche—on the diesel market.  That’s not necessarily a problem, especially considering the strong reputation of those brands for styling and outstanding drive quality.

What Are the Top Models?

Volkswagen Jetta
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI, available as a sedan and wagon, is the most popular diesel-powered passenger car in America.  It’s twenty-five percent more fuel-efficient than gas version.

The BMW X5 is known for its athletic handling  and luxury interior.  It comes standard with all-wheel drive.  The diesel version puts the X5 ahead of its competitors for fuel economy.

Volkswagen Passat
The Passat TDI is the only clean diesel mid-size sedan in the U.S.  It’s also the highest mpg sedan, excluding hybrids and electric cars.

Audi A3
Design of A3 ranks among top premium small cars.  The diesel’s mpg is 30 percent higher than gasoline engine model.

Mercedes GL320
The diesel version of the GL320 lifts highway fuel efficiency to 21 mpg for this full-size three-row SUV.  It’s pricey, but for a luxury buyer, the GL320 can haul family and gear with lots of style and performance.

Where Do I Get Fuel?

The vast majority of gas stations have at least one pump dedicated to diesel fuel. Diesel drivers quickly learn to avoid local stations not offering diesel. 

How Much Does the Fuel Cost?

Gasoline and diesel prices do not move in lockstep.   The prices of these fuels move independently because the process used by refineries to produce gasoline or diesel are affected by seasons and other market factors.  But we can pinpoint specific recent trends, which shows diesel costing about 50 cents more per gallon than gasoline.

In a report issued in late 2012, the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration pegged diesel prices to average $3.96 per gallon in 2012, and (thankfully)  $3.73 in 2013.  It’s important to consider that diesel fuel has more energy content than gasoline, which helps contribute to the higher mpg of an efficient diesel vehicle, compared to gas-powered cars.  In other words, diesel vehicles in the long run cost less to operate per mile than gasoline cars (although they are not as fuel-efficient as hybrids or electric cars.)

Is It Green?

Modern diesels are an environmental tradeoff. While generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions, diesels emit larger amounts of two other pollutants:  particulate matter (which is harmful to human health) and oxides of nitrogen (a key ingredient in the formation of urban smog).

Thanks to a combination of cleaner fuel, more advanced engine design, and particulate scrubbers and filters, total emissions from modern clean diesel cars like the Volkswagen Jetta TDI have been cut by more than 90 percent compared to their predecessors. Today, diesels sold on the U.S. are usually cleaner and more fuel-efficient than their gas-powered counterparts.

eBay Green Machines

  • Review: 2014 Ford Fusion Energi

    Review: 2014 Ford Fusion Energi

    Likes: Responsive and smooth handling, with a firm grip on the road Extraordinary efficiency roughly equal to 75 to 100 miles per gallon Roomy midsize sedan interior Dislikes: Trunk space is cut nearly in half to make room for batteries Pricey compared to regular hybrid, and gas versions Dashboard infotainment features are not intuitive Four […]
  • Review: 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

    Review: 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

    Where Luxury and Fuel Efficiency Intersect Likes: Sexy and stealthy styling Balance between ride quality and handling THX® II Certified Audio System Good fuel economy at 39 mpg overall Dislikes: MyLincoln Touch Command Center Overall performance Interior quality just shy of luxury level The 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid blends sophisticated styling, and technology into a […]
  • Review: 2014 Cadillac ELR

    Review: 2014 Cadillac ELR

    Likes: Amazing fuel efficiency for beefy sedan Brisk all-electric acceleration Luxury interior materials, wrapped in sharp exterior design Dislikes: Overall ride quality is neither truly sporty nor luxurious Interior ergonomics are atrocious High price for gimmicks rather than true quality The hysterical television ad for the Cadillac ELR luxury electric vehicle would have us believe […]
  • Review: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive – Electrofied

    Review: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive – Electrofied

    Likes: Emissions Free Interior spaciousness Dislikes: COMAND telematics needs a refresh The manifestation of automotive mobility from earth’s precious oil resources to the state of electrification brings a spark of positivity to mankind, knowing there is a brighter future that allows humanity to rest on its laurels without the degradation and continuous destruction of the […]
  • Review: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

    Review: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

    Likes: Up to 33 mpg on the highway Subaru’s symmetrical AWD is standard Excellent road handling and composed ride on-road and off-road Generous cargo and passenger room for its size Dislikes: Auto start-stop feature EV mode doesn’t go beyond initial acceleration Hard to use navigation system Durability, all-weather capability, safety, and value are core components […]
  • eBay’s Market for Used Nissan Leafs Takes Off

    eBay’s Market for Used Nissan Leafs Takes Off

    Search on eBay, and you’ll find dozens of used 2011 Nissan Leaf electric cars priced around $15,000. That’s a great deal—less than half the original sticker price—on a battery-powered five-seat EV with a range of about 80 miles per charge. Three years ago, the earliest of electric car adopters were chomping at the bit to […]
  • eBay Garage PoW: 2014 Tesla Model S “Nikky”

    eBay Garage PoW: 2014 Tesla Model S “Nikky”

    Certainly not a stranger to performance cars. eBay Garage user, jaredbanyard, has both a Tesla Model S and BMW in his driveway. Now is your chance to possibly win a Model S for your driveway, too We’re coming down the home stretch of our Electrifying Giveaway that ends on May 16. Grand prize is a […]
  • Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

    Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

    Likes: Diesel engine is smooth, quiet, powerful, efficient Impressive fuel economy for a luxury SUV Refined, upscale, comfortable interior Off-road capability and adjustability Dislikes: Upper trim levels are expensive Diesel engine option adds $4,500 to price over gas V6 Automatic transmission selector makes you double check Soft suspension means soft cornering Drivers who want an […]
  • Green Ways to Save on St. Patrick’s Day

    Green Ways to Save on St. Patrick’s Day

    Hard to believe spring is just around the corner, even though old man winter refuses to loosen his grip in some parts of the country. To avoid getting stuck on the side of the road in good or bad weather, our friends at Car Care Council recommend a few easy tips to keep you happily […]
  • Early Bird Gull-Wing Bradley GT Electric Car

    Early Bird Gull-Wing Bradley GT Electric Car

    eBay Listing: 1980 Bradley GT II EV There’s a dearth of information available about the seriously cool Bradley GT fiberglass two-seat gull-wing kit car from the 1960s and 1970s. Web reports indicate that about 6,000 of the original Bradley GT cars were sold to kit builders, before the more refined but short-lived GT II was […]

Green Driving Poll

What alternative fuel are you the most likely to try?